We’re continuing our discovery of how to have courage whatever our circumstances. Read the following “thought” but also scroll to the bottom for some details I don’t want you to miss, and to give your input.
The Bible repeatedly says: “Do not be afraid.” And, we’re finding, God doesn’t stop there with his command. He gives us good reasons why we should have no fear. This week we’re learning we should not be afraid because:
Do not be afraid; God has heard…Genesis 21:17
If you’re like me though, you don’t just want to know God hears, you want him to do something, too.
I’ve found three encouragements for you and me in these words spoken to Hagar, the slave of Abraham and Sarah who gave birth to Ishmael. You can read the full story here. When Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the situation got dire for Hagar and Ishmael. Dismissed from the household, Hagar ended up wandering in the desert with little food and water. But, God took action. God not only heard Ishmael crying as he died of thirst but he also provided water and a promise to Hagar that everything was going to be alright. Ishmael would live.
God Acts On Our Behalf
The first encouragement is not only does God hear our distress, but he acts on our behalf to bring us relief. Of course, we want to be assured that God hears our cries, but most of all we want to be certain God will provide for our needs and everything will be okay. We are never going to escape bad things happening but we can trust God throughout them all.
God’s covenant takes place through Isaac, not Ishmael yet God still hears Ishmael’s suffering. God tells Hagar, he will make Ishmael into a great nation, just like he tells Abraham. Why? Because Ishmael is Abraham’s offspring. “I will make the son of the slave into a nation also because he is your offspring.”
Our second encouragement is that in the book of Romans we are told that you and I are Abraham’s offspring. Therefore, we can be assured that God hears our cries.
There is so much dysfunction — animosity, bitterness, rivalry… this list goes on in the family of Abraham, between Sarah and Hagar, Issac and Ishmael. Honestly, you read the story and think “guys, get your act together.” But, we know our own families are no different.
The third encouragement is that God can still work out much good regardless. God works in the midst of our difficulties. If you are feeling nothing good can possibly come out of the situation your family is in, know that God hears and can work miracles.
And finally, Hagar doesn’t even pray! Yet, God hears and responds. Life might be so difficult for you right now that all you can do is cry. Remember, God hears you.